I love eating out, and do it as often as I can. I’ve been eating out around Derbyshire for over two decades, and blogging about it for the last couple. Here are my all-time favourite Derbyshire restaurants. No faceless chains, just lovely, local, independents. All tried, tested and recommended by yours truly.
The best Derbyshire restaurants
I’ve only given restaurants a specific listing that I have tried and enjoyed myself, usually many times over. Sometimes this has been as a result of a gifted invite – in which case you’ll see [AD] listed at the start of that section. Everywhere included is here purely on their own merits. I wasn’t under any obligation to include anywhere and I promise their kind generosity hasn’t unduly influenced my opinions. I wouldn’t recommend anywhere unless I was prepared to spend my own money there!
I am not a food critic or expert – but I know what I like. I have high standards in terms of quality of food, presentation and service. It doesn’t have to be perfect – but it does have to be consistently great at whatever it does.
Whilst I love to fine dine, like many people, I can’t afford to do this week in and week out. If we go somewhere posh it’s a treat that we would look forward to for weeks in advance and savour the memories of.
So whilst there is a small fine dining section here, I don’t think anything tops the Michelin Guide. Instead, I’ve generally concentrated on the types of restaurants we would go to routinely go to (babysitters and schedules allowing!). So without further ado, here are my all time favourite Derbyshire restaurants.
Great pub restaurants / gastro pubs in Derbyshire
Tickled Trout, Barlow near Chesterfield
The Tickled Trout is a consistently great gastro pub, with an Italian twist. Chef Chris Mapp is passionate about locally sourced ingredients – but has also clearly established exceptional high levels of consistency in the kitchen. I have never had so much as a dud course here, and I come a lot. The service is also great, friendly but professional. I love the versatile menu including everything from pub classics to sourdough pizzas (some of the best in the county!), a divine small plates menu (I am obsessed with the Vietnamese halloumi, the truffle fries and the arancini) to really quite high end restaurant-y food. Relaxed, but lovely surroundings.
Details: Barlow, S18 7SL, 0114 289 1111. Dog friendly in the cosy bar area (but not in the restaurant). On site parking. Family friendly .
The Bluebell, South Wingfield near Alfreton
Run by the same people who run the magnificent Stones in Matlock, The Bluebell dishes up great food in a contemporary village pub. Everything from beautifully executed, thoughtful plates of food that would be at home in more of a fine dining environment, to pub classics and a great sandwich menu at lunchtime. Delicious food in relaxed, contemporary atmosphere and with good service.
Details: South Wingfield, Derbyshire DE55 7NJ, 01773 546722. Small car park and street parking. Family friendly – lovely children’s play area for younger children outside (parred down bar and garden menu). Dogs are welcome outside (they even have a cute little station with water bowls, water, treats etc) and in the bar area – but not in the restaurant.
The Palfrey, Milford near Belper
Previously located at Old Blacksmiths Yard in Derby’s Cathedral Quarter, The Palfrey relocated to Milford in autumn 2021. The gorgeous new home enjoys some pleasant views of the surrounding countryside. The historic building has been thoughtfully renovated in a contemporary style. I loved the comfy leather seating and the Scrabble style racks and letters to denote reserved tables.
Modern British cuisine. I recently visited for Sunday lunch and this is one of the restaurants I am keen to return to at the earliest opportunity! Not least due to the most incredible sticky toffee pudding.
Details: Milford, Belper, DE56 0RL, 01332 293 135. Car park. Accessed via steps – unsuitable for pushchairs/prams. Dog friendly.
The Devonshire Arms, Beeley near Bakewell
Quintessentially English, The Devonshire Arms is a wonderful cosy pub and light and airy restaurant. Nestled in the Chatsworth Estate, it’s one of the loveliest country inns in the Peak District national park. There are a range of menus, from sandwiches and light bites, to a set lunch menu to a la carte.
Details: DE4 2NZ, 01629 733259. Car park opposite.
The George, Hathersage
[AD – previous invite] The George is a newly renovated, beautiful old country inn and gastro pub. Great service, delicious food and exceptionally good wines.
It relaunched under new ownership not long ago and is now operated by the same people who own The Maynard in Grindleford. The five hundred year old building has a fascinating history (Charlotte Bronte was a regular visitor). Beautiful period features are now off set with contemporary styling and a colour palette of forest greens, pops of colour and bold wallpapers. It’s cosy, comforting and inviting but still feels special.
Great menu ranging from pub classics to stone baked pizzas to really quite high end dining. Lots of it sourced from local suppliers.
Details: Main Road, Hathersage, S32 1BB. Car park for guests. The barrier raises automatically and then you get a code to exit at the bottom of your bill. Dog friendly in the bar (not the restaurant). Baby changing facilities.
The Horseshoes, Long Lane near Ashbourne
The Horseshoes is an award winning country inn offering relaxed fine dining. The bar area feels very much like a traditional country pub, with open fires and old men nursing pints. There’s also extensive outside space including some garden rooms.
The candle lit restaurant has a more refined ambiance. Expect immaculately presented fresh produce and a freshly baked bread course to kick off proceedings. Attentive, friendly service.
Details: The Horseshoes Long Lane, DE6 5BJ, 01332 824625.
White Hart, Duffield, Derby
A vibrant, cosy village pub housed in a beautiful old building. Quirky, chic, contemporary décor. Most of the pub feels really cosy without being at all old-fashioned or stuffy. Great food and drink. Their honey roasted goats cheese starters is one of the best around. Also sourdough, wood fired pizzas and a range of pub grub to really quite high end restaurant style meals.
Details: Duffield, Derby, DE56 4GD, 01332 841141. Great beer garden. Car park.
Red Lion at The Peak Edge Hotel
I love everything about the Red Lion restaurant at The Peak Edge Hotel. The food is consistently good, as is the service. There’s a cosy bar area with real fires to sit and enjoy an apertif. Then the restaurant is delightful light and airy with cosy booth areas. The restaurant looks out over the surrounding scenery. If you’re lucky you might spot a highland cow!
Details: Stone Edge, Chesterfield, S45 0LW, 01246 566142.
Other gastro pubs worth trying:
See the listing for The Bulls Head Holymoorside in the fine dining section below. The Bulls Head in Wilson near Melbourne is also good for locally sourced quality food and a lovely cosy pub atmosphere. The Hunloke Arms in Wingerworth near Chesterfield – great for cocktails, bao buns and wood fired pizzas.
Other gastro pubs I hear good things about: I’ve not tried any of these yet, but I see such good things online about The Pack Horse in Hayfield, The Blind Bull in Little Hucklow and The Old Hall in Chinley.
Derbyshire restaurants – Best Bistros
The Cottonworks Bistro, Darley Abbey, Derby
The Cottonworks is perfect example of a lovely bistro. The food here is insanely good. My most recent visit was for a Sunday roast. Every single element on that plate was spot on – from beautifully succulent meat to the most delicious gravy – it was wonderful.
The location is also pretty perfect. Nestled in the oldest building in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Darley Abbey Mills, it also enjoys a prime riverside setting. In the warmer months there are tables riverside.
Details: Derby DE22 1DZ, 01332 947490. Parking at the rugby club.
The Wonky Table
This quirky, charming café style bistro is situated on Sadler Gate in Derby’s Cathedral Quarter in the city centre. Rustic dining using locally sourced produce and popular vegetarian evenings.
Details: Nearest car park is Parksafe on Bold Lane.
Hathersage Social is a great option for all day dining with a contemporary twist. It’s particularly lovely in the warmer months. There’s attractive garden seating. Lots of vegan and vegetarian options – and a waffle menu!
Details: Station Road, Hathersage, Hope Valley S32 1DD, 01433 650 203. No parking (and at a premium in Hathersage at peak times. Use public transport or combine with a walk parking elsewhere if you can).
Bottle & Thyme, Chesterfield
Bottle & Thyme is basically my favourite all rounder in Chesterfield. It’s lovely for everything from coffee and cake, to cocktails, to breakfast, lunch and an evening meal. The lunch and evening menu is a tempting array of small plates, grazing boards and burgers. As well as the food and drink being incredible, the service is always nice and they have a really strong commitment to sustainability.
Details: 15-17 Knifesmithgate, Chesterfield, S40 1RL, 01246 768283.
Fine dining Derbyshire restaurants
Lovage is an exciting addition to the Peak District’s food scene. Chef Owner Lee Smith was a regional finalist in the 2019 series of Great British Menu, having worked in prestigious Michelin-starred establishments including the legendary Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons.
Housed in an historic building in Bakewell town centre, Lovage successfully marries country casual with a stylish, refined elegance.
Exquisite fine dining – with a good value set lunch menu, in addition to a la carte and a tasting menu (evenings only). Service is attentive and professional but unfailing friendly.
Details: Situated in Bakewell town centre, DE45 1DS. There are several car parks within short walking distance. These will get busy at peak tourist times so do factor in time to park. We parked in the market place which is pay and display.
Peacock at Rowsley
The Peacock at Rowsley offers fine dining done properly. The historic building is an elegant, refined setting for a special meal. Sumptuous menus are based on the finest, seasonal, local produce and presented with refreshing creativity. Quality local ingredients, including organically-reared beef and lamb from the nearby Haddon Estate. Expect exquisite fine dining in a traditional setting.
Details: DE4 2EB, 01629 733 518
The Bulls Head, Holymoorside
[AD – previous invite] Utterly sublime food in an unassuming country pub. Situated in the picturesque village of Holymoorside on the outskirts of Chesterfield and easily accessible from the Peak District, the Bulls Head Holymoorside has quietly been building an amazing reputation locally.
Aisthorpe not only grows his own vegetables and herbs but on the day we dined both the rabbit and venison had been shot and butchered by Mark himself, as is all of the game of the menu. Other produce is sourced locally where possible.
I recently enjoyed dishes from their à la carte menu served tasting menu style. Highlights were a huge hand dived scallop expertly paired with teeny tiny diced apple and fennel, a spiced winter squash purée and chopped hazelnuts. And perfectly cooked medallions of the most magnificent venison with a rich Madeira jus, charred onion, parsnip and parsnip purée and flecks of 85% cocoa chocolate.
Details: Holymoorside, Chesterfield, S42 7EW, 01246 569999. Car park. Dog friendly in the bar area only.
Other fine dining Derbyshire restaurants to try:
The Gallery restaurant at the Cavendish Hotel in Baslow holds three AA rosettes. So far I’ve only ever had afternoon tea at the Cavendish but that was a sublime experience. Everything was top notch and the service wonderful.
It is years since I visited Stones in Matlock but from what I hear on the foodie grape vine, it is every bit as good as I remember.
The Dovecote restaurant at Morley Hayes continues to get rave reviews. I’ve only been here once, for a champagne breakfast years ago but would imagine it’s a safe bet for a lovely meal.
Fischer’s at Baslow Hall, Rafters at Riverside House in Ashford in the Water, the Samuel Fox Country Inn and Lighthouse are all listed in the Michelin Guide. The Factory Kitchen Ilkeston is also one to watch and I’m also keen to try The George in Alstonefield near Ashbourne.
In terms of pop-up restaurants, I really rate Aqua Garden Kitchen. The Tasting Club in Brailsford is creating a real buzz on social media.
World Cuisine Derbyshire Restaurants
A cosy, very traditional Italian restaurant. Perfectly cooked, authentic Italian food.
A family run Italian restaurant on the edge of Chesterfield town centre. The food is every bit as good as you’d expect. A busy, bustling Italian with incredible pizzas, steaks etc.
Both of the above feature in my guide to the most romantic restaurants in Derbyshire. Our all time favourite Italian restaurant in England is Vito’s in Sheffield. Obviously not Derbyshire, but worth the trip!
Tom Yum Thai Kitchen, Belper
The best Thai I have been to in Derbyshire is Tom Yum Thai Kitchen in Belper. I haven’t actually been for years, but when I was living in Belper I ate here probably once a month for about five years and it was consistently amazing. The Trip Advisor reviews would suggest it has retained that quality. Not only is the food great but it’s a really interesting ambiance being housed in an old mill building.
Anoki, Derby and Burton
I’ve dined at both the Derby and the Burton venues numerous times. Derby is more atmospheric, situated in an old cinema it enjoys high ceilings and period features. Whilst there is a car park for the Derby restaurant, it’s easier to park at the Burton one and there’s more of a contemporary feel. Expect fine Indian dining.
Pin it for later:
I hope you’ve enjoyed my guide to the best Derbyshire restaurants. I’d love to hear where you rate in the comments below.